As some of you know, we have to put the farmlet up for sale. The global financial crisis hit the area in a big way, and 11,000 local homeowners got screwed by the banks; we're one of them. There are For Sale signs sprouting all around us. It's been an insanely busy two weeks of cleaning and packing and painting and pruning and generally trying to make the place look attractive to potential buyers. It's wearing, to say the least.

We had one showing last Saturday. It was a young New Order Mennonite couple who seemed very interested, but we haven't heard anything further from the agent. Today our realtor, Sue, arranged for a videographer to come and take some vids and pics this morning. I was up at 6AM to get a start on making the place look as if no one really lives here. It's a very strange procedure, this selling houses. I missed most of the actual filming because I had to borrow the car which meant driving Mark to work and then running some errands before I made it back here. The guy seemed pretty happy with the results, the cats less so since they were shagged outside while all of this was going on. Morning is their prime nap time, for God's sake! Will no one think of the kitties?

Of course the rest of life doesn't stop just because we got hit with a thunderbolt. (By the way, our front yard was literally struck by lightning yesterday. No damage, but the shattering clap of thunder that came with it scared the crap out of all of us. And in how many ways does the universe have to keep insisting that we need to get the hell out of this place? Peace, universe! We get it. We get it.) Chores, errands, bills, animals - everything else still needs attending to.

All of my doctors give me the same sermon: don't overdo it and avoid stress. BWAH! Hello, let me introduce you to my life. I know things will get better at some point simply because that's how life works. But for now I'm tired, I'm stressed, I'm in pain, and I have a sinus infection. I woke up at 1:30 AM and only catnapped until I got out of bed at 6AM, so I've been going on just a few hours sleep all day. I'm laughing as I'm typing, because really . . . how ridiculous is all of this?

Anyway, I'll post the url for the vid when it gets posted. I hear it has theme music. The mind boggles.
We had a dumpster delivered to the house this morning. )

They're going to empty it and return it tomorrow morning. We've rented it for a week, and I think we'll probably have about three loads total. Tomorrow we clean out under the deck and out by the barns. It's fun, really.

I really screwed up my hand when I fell the other day. I couldn't use it at all for about 24 hours, but constant ice packs, pain meds and steroids did the trick. It's pretty much back to where it was before I did my stupid tractor trick. To be honest, my left hand is pretty much shot anyway. I have very little strength there anymore, and it's painful to open even something like a ziplock bag. It's lupus doing its thing. At least it's not my right hand, I say with thanks.

I think my fix for the mail box is going to pass muster with the local postal inspector. It's not pretty, and it doesn't close 1005 of the way (about 98%), but I'm pretty sure that we'll get the OK for it. I used some steel wool on the rust, a hammer on the tin, and my trusty can of Pam on the rivets. Now if the mail box would only oblige and cough up my freakin' work visa, I'd be ever so grateful.

And I'm having a hot flash. Ack!
As I was walking out to the barn this morning, the heron was making his way toward the pond. He stopped dead in his tracks, and I walked slowly by him giving him a wide berth. I got a close look at him, though, and what I thought was an immature Little Blue Heron is instead a mature Green Heron. And they do, in fact, hang out in trees when they're not wading around ponds and marshes. Who knew? They're in season around here from May through September, so I hope this guys sticks around that long. Lord knows that there are enough frogs in that pond to keep him fed through the summer.

In the ongoing saga of our Mailbox from Hell, we got notice from the Post Office that unless we can get the door of the mailbox to close correctly, they will stop delivering mail in a few weeks. The screw on the right side of the lid is rusted (plus someone beat the snot out of the box with a baseball bat a few months ago), so the door kind of bends upward instead of closing completely. I'm going to scrub the rust off with some steel wool, hammer the door back into shape, and try some WD-40 on the screw. I'll also take a picture for my mailbox gallery. We can't just simply replace it (emphasis on simply) because after the last debacle of it being ripped off the post, Dar glued the shit out of it so it would probably take a chainsaw to remove it now. That mailbox, man. It's like its own little circle of hell.

Got some sort of good news on the Immigration front yesterday. Dar called (since she's the one familiar with all of the paperwork), and it turns out that my application package has been sitting there because they don't have a form that we sent in almost a year ago. After very little effort, the clerk realized that it just hadn't been forwarded from the office down the hall. So she was going to walk down the hall and retrieve it. *head desk* Now I just have to hope that she really did that little thing and my visa will be winging its way slowly to me. Assuming I get the mailbox fixed, of course.

In more positive news on the Immigration front, I received a GST rebate check from the Canadian government today. That means that they have me on their books as a real, live person and not just a temporary worker. Oh yeah - Ontario gives us a tax rebate on purchased goods every few months. How cool is that? It's a set amount based on marital status/number of children/income level, so it's more of an across-the-board thing than an accounting of how much tax you actually shelled out. Still . . . very cool.

And now? Bed.
It's Canada Day, and that means . . . fireworks. At the neighbors. On both sides. I still can't get used to the idea of it being legal, having been raised where it was a crime to set them off. Needless to say that the cats and the alpacas are not very happy about this particular part of the holiday. Poor babies.

Not much else is happening that's newsworthy. I'm still not back to what passes for normal for me these days, but I have been getting out and about (or owt and abowt as they say here) for the past two days anyway. Maybe it's the start of an upswing. One can hope.

I grow weary of the 24/7 coverage of all things Michael Jackson. Or maybe that's just happening on MSNBC. I just switched channels and CNN seems to be reporting on, you know, news. I spoke too soon. "Coming up on AC360 - Michael Jackson and the dangers of abusing prescription drugs." Give me a fucking break.

Awwww, cute ad on TV with dogs. Thank you, cute ad on TV with dogs.

I have finished 10076 games of Solitaire on my computer. It's mindless. I apparently am very attracted to mindless.

Really, that's about it. Oh, we have a young blue heron who has claimed our pond as his. Hers? I think it's male because the colors are pretty vibrant. Whenever he gets scared away from the pond, he flies up to one of the tall trees in our neighbor's field. It's a strange thing to see a heron perching in a tree. I'll just leave you with that thought.
Just a few things.

We have another shearing tomorrow where Dar will be the de facto vet on call, and I will be one of the table helpers who try to keep the alpacas calm and still on the shearing table. There are only 10 alpacas this time, and with 2 tables going at once, I hope we're done early afternoon - before the threatened showers appear. Damp alpacas mean more of a chance for them being hurt during the process, and none of us want that happen.

I've been a mowing maniac since I got the lawn tractor up and going. I don't think that [ profile] sparky77 appreciates it all that much since the tractor is parked right outside of her bedroom. VROOOOMMMMM! Heh. I've mowed twice in the past four days, and I can just about see all of the dandelions sprouting up behind me again as I go. You've heard of Leningen vs. the Ants? Well, this is Lee vs. the Dandelions.

I have a series of essays that I think many of you will find interesting. It's called Lessons for Girls, and it's writings about things that girls - and women - should know as they make their way through life. Things like it's OK to get angry, and it's OK to opt out of no-win situations. The essays are written by academic women, but the lessons are universal. I'd be interested in hearing your reactions. I found several of the comments to be insightful, too, especially in the piece on pity.

As I was reading through them, I was happy to see that I've incorporated all of those lessons into my life already. On the other hand, I've been walking in this skin for 60 years, and I sure as hell should have learned my lessons by now. Not that I still don't have more to learn both about myself and how I make my way in relation to the world. In fact, I want to quote from one of the comments on the difference between pity and compassion: To be truly compassionate, you must not just understand and empathize with the person in trouble. You must also model for them compassion for the self. That means no violence to yourself, no excessive sacrifice, no loss of integrity or dignity. That? Was a lesson for me.

And before I call it a night, I wanted to wish you all a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! The start of summer, guys! Enjoy. Have a hot dog on me, OK?
and a major pain in the ass. My power cord to my laptop just died, so I'm going to have borrow Dar's off and on until I can afford to replace this. My online time is going to be limited for a while, it seems.

Just wanted to update a few things. Dar has done an exceptional job (as usual) of nursing the baby along. He'd gained over 2 pounds in three days, which is great considering he wasn't nursing. She milked Delilah several times a day and feed the colostrum to the baby (still nameless, alas) and then supplement it with regular milk. He's finally nursing on his own, but Dar still wants to continue supplementing for a few more days. As to names, we're looking at Merlin, Leopold, and I'm partial to Ozzie because of his weird eyes.

We were at a big alpaca shearing yesterday at our friends the Poots. Thirty alpacas in 10 hours. That was pretty good considering both shearers were having big trouble with their clippers and frequently had to stop had to stop and change or clean blades. The fleece was damp from the very high humidity and that also caused problems. There were three accidents where an alpaca was badly cut, one so bad that Dar had to suture the wound. It happens when the alpaca suddenly jerks or jumps on the table. The shearers feel terrible about it, but there's not much that can be done to prevent it and not stress out the alpaca even more.

I spent all day there, and although I'm extremely tired and foggy-headed today, I'm glad that I went. It was great to feel useful again and to actually do something, plus it was great to be around other alpacas people for a while.

Friday I got some work done around here. I finally got the tractor up and running. It had one flat tire, so I jacked up the tractor, took off the tire and filled it using a little compressor pump that runs off a car cigarette lighter. Any port in a storm :) Both front tires are still too soft, so I'll have to fill them some more. It makes me a little nervous because I don't have a small enough tire gauge to test the psi, and I'm worried about over filling and having the damn thing explode. I know that sounds like a frivolous fear, and I was feeling a bit silly about it . . . until all the talk yesterday morning was about a local guy who was severely injured on Friday when one of his tires exploded while he was working on it. See! Of course these are small tires, but still they could do some damage. So it's going to take me some time because I'll be stopping and checking frequently. I really need to get this done; our yard is like a wild field.

We have another shearing tomorrow, but that's only about 16 alpacas, so it won't be that long. Then Tuesday it's going to rain. Wednesday Dar has to go get some tests done. Thursday looks like the first day I'll be able to get to things around here. Hopefully there won't be wild animals making lairs out there in there bush that is our back yard.

And the battery is really low, so I need to shut it down. It's a long weekend here (Victoria Day, aka the 2-4 Weekend), but I hope the rest of you have a great Monday ahead of you at work :)
Tonight while trying to feed Jester the horse, I got my right leg woefully stuck in the mud. I tried to use his feed bucket as a balance so I could drag my foot up, but Jester was having none of it. He knocked me over and away from the bucket, and then I was down and wallowing, trying to pull myself up and avoid getting stepped on. I lost my boot for a while, but I finally managed to get it unstuck. Unfortunately there was no way I could fit my foot back in it, since my sock and pants leg were now about two inches thicker thanks to a coating of mud. So I finished the rest of my chores wearing one boot and one sock. I was, shall we say, a bit chilled by the time I made it back to the house. (We still have snow on the ground up here.)

I am very ready for a little vacation with [ profile] cajoje.

First deep frost_0816, originally uploaded by maystone1.

It only looks like snow. The leaves are dropping like rain out there.

My airport card died on my laptop, so I'm writing this from my old desktop Mac. A mouse! A scrunched up keyboard! EEP! Heh. It's also a lot slower than my laptop because it's an older OS. And trust me, I'm not complaining, because any internet connection is better than no internet connection.

I'll tell you, that wonky airport was playing havoc with my Scramble experience. I'd be typing all these words that I'd found, and about one in ten was making it onto the board. So I'd exit the game before my score could be compiled because that would bring down my stats, eh. Not that they're all that and a bag o' chips to begin with. (So [ profile] sffan, that's why it took me so long to respond.)

It turns out that I don't have a cold after all. That was one wicked bout of allergies, though, I'll tell you that much. Still yesterday was a better day, and I got out there after 5PM to run the lawn tractor over the back 40 (as we like to call it.) The back field is completely overrun. It's a freakin' jungle. I wouldn't be at all shocked to run into jaguars and cobras and velocoraptors. I did manage to cut a swath around the fence line anyway, but there were several times when I had to maneuver back out of a ditch left over from having the water line to the barns repaired. It's a mess, and I really need to fill in that trench. Someday. Somehow.

[ profile] darlong had written that yesterday was exceedingly . . . UVish. It's not that the temperatures were extreme, because they weren't, but the sun was being very aggressive. I don't know how to describe it accurately. The UV index was 9 out 10, and since UV is my enemy, I stayed indoors as much as I could between 10AM and 4PM. Even after 5, though, I could feel it beating me up - and I was wearing SPF 70 sunscreen. I thought for sure that I'd be paying for it today, but so far so good.

I'll probably be spending the rest of the day obsessing over the kidney biopsy tomorrow. Not the procedure, mind you, but the preparation. Lists and lists of things I have to do, not do, things I have to be sure they know before they start the procedure (Item #1 - I've had a gastric bypass so do not intubate me!), and in all ways carry on as if I were planning the freakin' D Day invasion. Because I'm a nut case. But it keeps me off the streets and out of trouble, so there is an up side. And a grateful Canada sighs.

OK, off I go to recreate some bookmarks on this old workhorse of a Mac. Awww, I love my little stand-alone Mac :)
We had blue skies today. Blue skies and sunshine. Blue skies and sunshine and low winds. I think it was a preview of heaven. We actually made it out of the driveway and into town. And we didn't get bushwhacked by snow squalls on the way home. It's a Hanukkah miracle! One more nice day tomorrow, and then we're back into the snow pattern, damn it. But at least there's tomorrow.

Went out to the barn again this afternoon, and while it did knock me on my ass again (metaphorically speaking), it was still worth it. We saw loads of animal tracks around, and not just out in the paddocks and the field. Our front stoop looks like a rabbit convention was held there. Seriously, there are a mob of tracks there. I know that the rabbits live under some of the pines in the front yard, but it looks like they're settling in under the bushes up against the house, too. Now I want to buy a little condo complex for them all.

There are also cat, dog, fox, and pheasant tracks close to the house. (We know it's a pheasant because Dar has actually seen it.) I think the pheasant may be living under the deck, which would be kind of cool. Last winter Dar and I used to wander around out back checking out all of the tracks; I really miss doing that. I love seeing all of these traces of the animals living all around us whom we usually don't get to see.

Made an appointment to get Jane spayed next week. The poor thing spends a lot of her time alone, hiding under beds or other furniture. Hopefully getting her spayed will take the edge off her presence and the big girls will leave her alone. Then Chloe will become the target, no doubt :) we'll deal with that when it happens.

But for now, the muscles in my legs are twitching like crazy and the nerves are pinging like there's no tomorrow. It's the oddest sensation, because it's not really painful although that's what one would expect considering we're talking about nerves. Instead it feels like waves of sensation running up and down the nerve pathways. It's uncomfortable and disquieting but not painful, thankfully. I have to admit that it scares me nevertheless, because these symptoms are sounding more and more like multiple sclerosis. But then I'm not a doctor, so what the hell do I know about it. I'm too tired to get that excited tonight anyway. Instead I'll sleep and dream about another sunny, snowless day tomorrow. Yeah :)
The weather was beautiful today: crisp and dry and with a weak sun that meant that I could go outside and work. Yay! I'd been wanting to get in one last run at the lawns before the snow starts to fly, and I've also been wanting to clean up the paddocks. Stuff accumulates out there over time; we had six childrens' wading pools just collecting rain water and turning various shades of green and brown, just as a for instance.

So first I tackled the yard and some of the back acreage. Man, I've really missed using the lawn tractor. Zoom, zoom, zoom and I must admit the lawns look great. Well, the back does. The front was taken over by mutant giant dandelions early in the season, and we never did reclaim it. But at least now they're very short mutant giant dandelions. That took a little over an hour, and then I had to come inside and rest. Yes, that's how wimpy I have become. At one point near the end of the lawn tractor adventure, I'd actually gone completely numb from my hips down. I found myself wondering if I was still going to be able to drive well enough to 1) finish the cutting and 2) actually get me back to the house. Yes on both questions, I'm happy to say.

After a couple of hours of resting and getting my circulation back, I sought out the keys for the old, unregistered minivan that we now have, and got it running. It hadn't been started in weeks, but fortunately the weather hasn't been cold enough to slay the battery although it did take a few tries to get it going. Off I went to the paddock areas, scaring the alpacas as I tootled by. Not really scared, because as soon as I pulled up next to the back fence, they all came trotting over, curious as ground hogs. "What's thaaaaaat? Whatcha dooooooooing? Huh?Huh?Huh?Huh?" I just love those guys so much :) So I marched around out there and entertained the camelids by emptying the pools and then jumping up and down on them to try to get all of the air out. I gave up on that finally and just used a utility knife on them. The pools. Not the alpacas. Brought in all of the chairs that ended up out there, too, during the various Cria Watch marathons we had this summer. I had the back of the van filled in no time.

Drove the van back, unloaded, bagged the pools for garbage, rolled up a couple of long garden hoses, put the chairs and then hoses under the deck, played with the cats for a bit (more on that in a bit), went inside and slowly, painfully climbed the stairs to get wet food for the outdoor cats (in a minute, really!), made my way back outside and fed those guys, crawled even more slowly and painfully back up the damn stairs--and pretty much just collapsed for the rest of the evening. Very, very tired, very, very much in pain, and very, very pleased with myself :) I'm probably going to pay for this big time tomorrow, too, but I don't care. Days like today are too good to let go by, you know? The whole week is supposed to be like this, and I plan to take full advantage of it.

So. Outdoor cats. Mirabelle spent a most comfortable night inside from what I could tell. Turns out that she's a stair cat, which is very cute for us but a bit of a trial for the other cats because while they tend to stay upstairs with us, their litter boxes are downstairs. Duh-duh-DUNNNNN! I'm sure they were each having their own horrible little Mokie flashbacks :) This morning it became obvious that both cats wanted to go back outside, so I let them scamper away. I think that's how it will play out for a bit, at least until the bad weather hits and they really need to stay inside all day and all night. Mark brought them back in for the night when he got home from work; I think it's a good compromise.

I made an appointment with the Immigration Services doctor for Nov. 20. It turns out that I could have gone this week or next week, so it's good to know that it's not a long wait. I may end up moving the appointment up, but I need to talk with Dar about the paperwork that has to be done before then. I really, really would like to get this done before there's anything really damning that shows up on my records from all of these tests. I can be rejected for application for permanent residence for two reasons: criminal record and serious health issues. I haven't run afoul of the law (yet) since I've been up here, but this whatever could knock me out of the Immigration pool. To kill a mixed metaphor. Timing is going to be important,and our timing hasn't always been exemplary. To put it mildly.

Now to bed. Actually, now to track down outdoor kitties just to see how they're doing and then to bed. Someone do me a favor and hold my eyelids open for me for a few minutes, OK? Thanks!

I leave you with picspam. The lovely Adama out enjoying the back pasture; the whole herd doing the same, and a pic of me and my new cowboy hat what I bought on sale in Vegas. It ain't purdy, but it sure as hell keeps the sun off me.

Beauties and the Beast )

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